The Republic of Moldova is a landlocked country in eastern Europe, located between Romania to the west and Ukraine to the east. Historically part of the Principality of Moldavia, it was annexed by the Russian Empire in 1812 and reunited with other Romanian lands in Romania in 1918. After changing hands during the World War II and its final annexation by the Soviet Union it was known as the Moldavian SSR during 1945-1991. Moldova declared its independence on 27 August 1991.

The part of Moldova east of the Dniestr River, Transnistria - which is more heavily industrialized and is populated by a larger proportion of ethnic Russians and Ukrainians - claimed independence in 1991, fearing the rise of nationalism in Moldova and the country's expected unification with Romania. This caused a brief military conflict between Moldova and Transnistria. As no other nation recognizes Transnistria, it is de jure a part of Moldova, although in reality it is not controlled by the Moldovan government.

The country's main cities are the capital Chişinău, in the centre of the country, Tiraspol (in Transnistria), Bălţi and Bender.

The official language is Moldovan is essentially the same as Romanian. In the past Soviet official policy stated that Romanian and Moldovan were two different languages and Moldovan was written in Cyrillic alphabet, as opposed to Romanian, which was written in Latin alphabet. The matter of whether or not Moldovan is a separate language is a contested political issue within and beyond the Republic of Moldova.

Moldovians are predominantly Eastren Orthodox Christians, but as in many other ex-Soviet Republics, the nation is very secularized.

Located geographically at the crossroads of Latin and Slavic cultures, Moldova has enriched its own culture adopting and maintaining some of the traditions of its neighbors.

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Basic information

Full country name: Republic of Moldova

Government type: Unitary Parliamentary Replublic

President: Nicolae Timofti

Capital: Chișinău

National holiday: Independence Day, 27 August (1991); note - 27 August 1991 is the date of independence from Soviet Union

Area: 33,843 sq km

Administrative divisions: 32 ragions (raioane, singular - raionul), 3 municipalities (municipiul), 1 autonomous territorial unit (unitatea teritoriala autonoma), and 1 territorial unit (unitatea teritoriala)

Population: 2,913,281 (2014 est.)

Ethnic groups: Moldovan/Romanian 78.2%, Ukrainian 8.4%, Russian 5.8%, Gagauz 4.4%, Bulgarian 1.9%, other 1.3% (2004 census); note: internal disputes with ethnic Slavs in the Transnistrian region

Language: Moldovan (official, virtually the same as the Romanian language), Russian and Ukrainian as well as Moldovan are official languages in Transnistria, Gagauz (a Turkish dialect)

Religion: Orthodox 93.3%, Baptist 1%, other Christian 1.2%, other 0.9%, atheist 0.4%, none 1%, unspecified 2.2% (2004 est.)

GDP - per capita: $1136 (Dec. 2013)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 40.6%, industry: 16%, services: 43.3% (2005)

Unemployment rate: 3.3% (Aug.2014)

Population growth rate: -1.02% (2014 est.)

Source: The World Factbook. You can read full article here!

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